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dolciani Apr 21st, 2008 07:25 AM

Who uses Rick Steves?
It seems that Rick Steves is sort of "frowned upon" by Fodorites - why is that? Is his advice not accurate or is it b/c Fodor's "competes" w/ Rick Steves books? Just wondering.....

janisj Apr 21st, 2008 07:31 AM

You can't make that assumption. Whenever there is a RS thread the posts runs about 50/50 pro-Rick/anti-Rick. Or maybe just slightly more pro-Rick.

He meets some folks needs - and doesn't meet others' . . . . .

DanM Apr 21st, 2008 07:35 AM

I think it has more to do with him being a little goofy and sometimes a check list appraoch to travel. That being said, I think he offers some very good insights to some different ways to enjoy major sights (say, the organ at St. Sulpice) and he does a good job of providing some budget tips.

The fact of the matter is that no one guide can cover it all. I look at his, Fodor's, Frommers, etc. when planning a trip, but I really seem to rely more on this and other travel sights.

Jake1 Apr 21st, 2008 07:36 AM

Guidebooks (like maps) are highly personal. One might fit your needs and personality, while another will not.

Steves focuses on places he has actually been to and routes he has actually taken. So he has detailed, personalized info on those places and routes.

Other guidebooks cover everything.

Some people like one format; some another.

Steves might tend to engender more passion among fans and detractors because of his financial success and TV exposure.

llamalady Apr 21st, 2008 08:00 AM

.....some folk dislike(!) his left-
leaning politics and espousal of
legalizing marijuana. And the fact
he has dared to criticize some US
policies regarding other countries.
Somehow, people have difficulty separating the persona from the
product. I'm Canadian so I don't
have the baggage, so to speak, so
I'm quite fond of his geeky, well-
intentioned Seattlite ways.....but
then his mother is a Canuck! LOL.

He certainly polarized fractious
Fodorites - but then so do clothing
lists and fanny packs.......

suze Apr 21st, 2008 08:02 AM

I think "Europe Thru the Backdoor" is an excellent book for first time travelers. Not so much to use specifically as a 'guidebook' on a trip, rather to wrap your mind about all kinds of things you need to think about traveling in Europe.

He has a very specific style that bugs some people & comes across goofy on his TV shows imo. His advice is pretty personalized to his own taste and level of standards... you might agree on his hotel and restaurant choices or they might not be your style at all.

Rick Steves' advice is accurate as much as any guidebook can be, and I'll speak for myself but it has absolutely nothing to do with Fodor's being in the same line of work.

Shanti Apr 21st, 2008 08:39 AM

I once met him & personally think he's a very nice person but often don't like his books because he doesn't even mention the places I'm interested in visiting.

Case in point, I'm going to Auxerre in June but there's nothing about it in his book on France. (Well, at least the 2006 version, I haven't seen a more recent edition.)

yk Apr 21st, 2008 08:40 AM

I've said this before on other threads.

I like RS's guidebooks for <b>planning</b>. They are full of practical information (such as where the ATM is located, or where a particular bus stop is, or how much is the fare etc).

But I don't use his guidebooks for actual sightseeing. I don't like his &quot;commentary style&quot; writing which I find way too subjective. I also don't like the fact that his guidebooks only cover the sights which HE thinks is worth seeing. There are plenty of other sights that aren't mentioned at all in his guidebooks.

I almost avoid the hotels and restaurants he recommends because majority of the time, those are packed with American tourists.

nutjobz Apr 21st, 2008 08:42 AM

I downloaded a Steve Ricks podcast of a tour of the Louvre. It was useless, I lost track of where I was supposed to be within 2 minutes. And it was full of useless chatty filler. But meanwhile I had not brought another guide with me thinking the podcast would be enough.

TorontoSteven Apr 21st, 2008 08:45 AM

Oh Shanti, Auxerre is lovely. We were there in the fall and they had half cleaned the Cathedral. The bottom half was pristine white and the top half a dingy grey. It was interesting to see.

You are lucky to be going.

MomDDTravel Apr 21st, 2008 08:53 AM

I enjoy reading his books - I find his style of writing (or his staffs LOL) to be an easy enjoyable read. It helps to give me an overview. I doubt highly that I would use his hotel recommendations.


Rmkelly313 Apr 21st, 2008 08:53 AM

I avoid any hotels that Rick Steeves recommends. We stayed at one in Italy that was one of his choices and it was awful.

Jake1 Apr 21st, 2008 09:06 AM

yk--it's not so much that he only covers only places that he thinks are worth seeing, but that he only covers places that he has actually visited.

MomDDTravel Apr 21st, 2008 09:11 AM

Jake - I LIKE that... I would prefer someone not be writing about what they think of a place by reading what other people think of a place! ;-)


Carlux Apr 21st, 2008 09:13 AM

One more comment on Auxerre - be sure to visit the Abbaye St Germain which we found much more interesting than the cathedral. It has what are claimed to be the oldest frescoes in France, dating from the 9th century. I found them incredibly moving.

AisleSeat Apr 21st, 2008 09:22 AM

I agree with the people who have said &quot;different strokes for different folks&quot;.

I love the pictures in the DK books but don't find them very good for planning. I like the details of Lonely Plants but find them a little shallow for all the places I want to visit.

On TV Rick Steves is pretty goofey, Rudy Maxa is pretty stuffy, Samantha Brown is obsessed with expensive modern hotels. All of them have their shortcomings but I am such a travel-addict that I watch them all just like I read all the guide books.

On their politics. That's is not what I look to them for and they are welcome to their own opinions.

AisleSeat Apr 21st, 2008 09:23 AM

Lonely Plants.... Lonely Planet (pretty much the same thing).

mbresso Apr 21st, 2008 09:44 AM

I do! I've used Rick Steves' guidebooks (and ancillary website and of course his PBS shows) almost exclusively for my last two trips to Europe in 2001 and 2005. I find the information to be unequivocally down-to-Earth and opinionated, and his tips unceasingly useful when it's time for the 'rubber to hit the road' and I need to make valuable, culturally-expanding and enjoyable decisions.

Once in a great while I'll peruse the other two major guides, Frommers and Fodors -- LOTS of great info there too -- but overall I find them to be less user-friendly and not without their pretentiousness. I guess I'd rather brag about what I learned about others and myself as opposed to how well off I am.

I've now finished my itinerary for my Fall 2008 trip to Europe using Rick Steves' books and wouldn't have it any other way. That's about as sterling a testimonial as I can give.

missypie Apr 21st, 2008 09:46 AM

I travel with teens/tweens and we love his walking tours of musuems, castles, etc. They offer just enough depth for the kids' level of interest and he always has a funny comment to throw in. So....if we found his tour of the Louvre perfect for our kids, passionate/serious adult art fans may NOT find his tour of the Louvre to be perfect for them.

suec1 Apr 21st, 2008 10:21 AM

Well for the most part I like his books - as another poster stated they are full of very practical info for the places he lists. Sometimes the hotels or restaurants can be so-so as far as my personal preference goes, but his listings are a good starting point. There is a bit of a &quot;swarm&quot; phenomena - you will see many americans walking the &quot;Rick Steves trail&quot; in a wide assortment of coutnries -one time in Cinque Terre I did an informal survey of how many of the visitors were there &quot;with&quot; Rick - it was almost everybody! When I was visiting Arles on my own journey along the &quot;Rick Steves trail&quot; lo and behold, there was Rick! I must say he was very pleasant and approachable - signed his book for me and then took our picture together with my camera.

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